Google may have struggled to come up with a standalone social networking site on the lines of Facebook or Twitter, but that that isn’t stopping the tech behemoth from offering social features in its existing apps and services. Almost a year after announcing plans to enable Google Maps users to ‘follow’ their favorite Local Guides on the app, the company is now expanding the feature to allow all users to follow one another.
In a blog post on Thursday, the company announced that the new feature will make it easier to “uncover community-powered updates and recommendations in Google Maps”. According to the company, Google Maps users can now ‘follow’ any fellow user who has shared photos, reviews or lists publicly. In such cases, you can now “follow them and get their recommendations, advice and updates delivered to your Updates tab in Google Maps”.
There will also be new topic filters on Google Maps profiles, enabling users to see the topics and places people share about the most. Some of those places might include eateries, camping grounds, parks, etc. (see left screenshot above). “Whether they’re a coffee enthusiast documenting every last latte, or a hometown expert reviewing all things Perth or Phoenix, you can follow other Google Maps users with public profiles to get helpful recommendations about the places around you”, the company said.
Do note that users will be able to control whether their posts on Google Maps will be public or not. Users will also have to give an explicit permission to become ‘followable’ on Google Maps. Even people wanting the social feature can make their profile ‘Restricted’. With a restricted profile, you approve new followers before they can see contributions on your profile, said Google. The new feature is already rolling out globally.